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Some Help For Leaky Gut Problems, Especially Ulcerative Colitis, “Pouchitis” and IBS

Some Help For Leaky Gut Problems, Especially Ulcerative Colitis, “Pouchitis” and IBS
22/12/2012 Mike

Ulcerative Colitis, IBS and other leaky gut problems, can benefit from a combination of L-Glutamine and N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG) (don’t confuse the latter with Glucosamine as sulphate or hydrochloride – it’s a different molecule with different activity).

Take about 5g L-glutamine powder together with 1-2g N-Acetyl Glucosamine with a little water, well away from food (say 1hr before or 2hr after eating).

In a nutshell, the L- glutamine and N-Acetyl Glucosamine are essential building blocks of the gut lining and mucus membranes that protect the gut from the various corrosive digestive juices, external toxins contained in some foods, allergens and pathogenic bacteria. Our experience with many customers (and some personal experience) is that these nutrients are very fast acting and can bring down inflammation and associated diarrhoea/constipation within hours.

For more info on N-Acetyl Glucosamine see: www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/lgl_0125.shtml. Note that the list of brands on this site is not exhaustive; we hold many brands not cited.

An observation on Pouchitis

Sometimes ulcerative colitis can get so severe that surgery becomes necessary, and the large intestine is removed and replaced by a pouch ingeniously constructed from a small part of the patient’s own small intestine. After some time the pouch takes on some limited functions of the large intestine as the cells miraculously change from small intestine cells to large intestine cells. And then, guess what – they get colitis! Except that it will now be called the imaginative name “Pouchitis”. I suppose that if they retained the name colitis (of the pouch) it would be too much like admitting the op had failed. (Although to be fair, in many cases it does buy time for someone whose life is otherwise in danger). This is yet another clear demonstration that surgery doesn’t always cure a problem any more than removing the oil warning light would solve an oil problem in a car. It simply removes the current site of the problem, allowing it to express itself elsewhere… It might be so much better, therefore, to try to address the causes of the problem rather than the symptoms, where possible. Meanwhile, if you have pouchitis, try the L-Glutamine and N-Acetyl Glucosamine combination. In my experience it works better and more lastingly than more conventional treatments.

NAG: N-Acetyl Glucosamine

The most abundant substances in the living world are cellulose and chitin. Cellulose makes up the leaves and stems of plants and the wood of trees. It is composed of long chains of a single type of molecule -glucose. Glucose is also the building block of the starch of our food, and it circulates in our blood to nourish our tissues. In animal tissues, glucose is converted into many different substances, including the amino sugars, in which a nitrogen atom is substituted for .one of the oxygen atoms of glucose.

Chitin (pronounced kytin) forms the shells of crustaceans in the sea and the cuticles of insects and it too is produced in the biosphere each year in amounts of millions of tonnes. Like cellulose, it is made up of long chains, not of glucose, but of an amino sugar, N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG, the N indicates that the acetyl part is attached to nitrogen atom in the molecule). We are familiar with chitin as the stuff of which our fingernails and toe-nails are made. This illustrates how it can be made into a tough material not easily biodegraded. This is why it serves many useful functions but it also results in the fact that NAG is not found much in nature in a free state – it is always part of some substance such as chitin. NAG however, formed in animal tissues from glucose, is the starting point for the synthesis of many important components of our tissues. NAG, and the amino sugars derived from it, can form chains of various length and can attach to proteins, fats {lipids) or other sugars to make giant molecules of glycoproteins, glycolipids and glycosaminoglycans (mucopolysaccharides), respectively. With proteins such as collagen glycoproteins and glycosaminoglycans can form cartilage, ligaments and tendons. But most structures are so thin that they can only be seen under the microscope and then only with difficulty. Tough, thin sheets form membranes which surround blood vessels and which enclose bundles of cells, holding them together, directing their growth and movements, and determining what passes in the way or nutrients and wastes. The space between cells is occupied by tough fibres or collagen enmeshed in a gel-like matrix of glycosaminoglycans. This gel is the “glue” that holds us together. But it is more than that: it is also a filter and a barrier, for example, to the spread of bacteria.

The mucus membranes which line our digestive, respiratory and urinary tracts are covered with a microscopically thin coat of glycoprotein which protects the underlying cells. The mucus, a protective fluid which flows over their surface, is a solution of glycoproteins.

The total amount of amino sugars in our body is several hundred grams. As with everything else in the body, there is a constant state of building up and breaking down; every day a certain amount of tissue is cast off as it becomes aged, damaged or otherwise less efficient and it must be renewed.

Each molecule of NAG and the other amino sugars derived from it remains in place in some particular tissue component for only a few days. Even in cartilage there is a turnover of constituents. Some of these constituents are recycled, some are lost in the shuffle and must be made. Although our diet does contain some NAG – even mother’s milk does – the diet is normally not an important source because NAG is made from glucose by all the cells of the body. In skin, for example, about one fifth of the glucose goes to make NAG.

What happens if the amount of NAG made is not enough to meet the demands of the tissues? That is a question to which at present there is no answer other than that anything for which NAG is required will be in short supply. This means especially the substances outside of cells such as the “glue” and the membranes. Experiments with tissues in the test tube and observations made on tissues in diseased states, however, have thrown some light on the subject. When tissues are injured or diseased, they may have greater demands to repair and replenish necessary structures.

Many diseases afflicting humans are thought to be the result of antibodies formed to one’s own tissue components, which attack them and cause damage. More likely the original offending substances come from outside, absorbed through the respiratory and especially the digestive system. Were this not so, it would be difficult to understand the profound effects that diet can have on these conditions. The present-day treatment of these conditions is to impair the body’s immune system in order to reduce the formation of antibodies in general – ironical in this age of AIDS.

Persons who suffer from offending substances in the diet have been shown to absorb things not normally allowed to pass through the wall of the intestine. This is attributed to defects in the protective coat and the “glue” – glycoproteins and glycosaminoglycans made from NAG. Another way that NAG might affect the troublesome substances is by sticking to these molecules and thereby altering their effects in tissues. Many people suffer from erosion and ulceration of the bowel with inflammation, diarrhoea, pain and discomfort. These distressing conditions are lifelong and sometimes life-threatening. The formation of NAG from glucose has been found to be much lower than normal in the intestinal tissue of such persons, which also can lead to severe defects in the protective coat of the intestine. Cells in the intestine have a short life, being replaced every few days by new cells. The intestines, with a large area for absorption can affect tissues throughout the body, by affecting what is absorbed, both foodstuffs and potentially harmful substances. The integrity of the protective coat is of the utmost importance.

The skin is another tissue where cells are continually being shed and replaced. Whenever tissue is injured and forced to repair and replenish at a greater rate, there is the possibility that the supply of NAG might not keep pace with the demand. Decreased formation of NAG as a result of drug treatments can be overcome by supplying more amino sugar to cells which make cartilage. The effects of drugs on the formation of essential substances made from NAG can be considerable. This is especially so in the case of long-term treatment with such things as corticosteroids. Although life-saving in many situations, their long-term use slows down the renewal of many things such as the supporting structures in skin and cartilage and around blood vessels. Here, provision of NAG can correct those deficiencies by providing directly what is needed to make the required components.

Fascinating new knowledge is emerging from modem research. In Alzheimer’s Disease it is now thought that the very first thing that goes wrong is a deficiency in the formation of the glycosaminoglycans which surround and guide the nerve cells and their fibres. These fibres grow into a tangled mass which fails to function normally. In Schizophrenia, cells in the region of the brain most involved, instead of lying in an orderly fashion, lie in disarray with nerves making abnormal connections, again due apparently to similar deficiency in the materials surrounding the nerve cells.

Tissue components made from NAG tend both to be dispersed throughout tissues and to be durable, that is, not easily degraded to release the amino sugars of which they are composed. For this reason, free NAG is not readily round in nature in any quantity, and until recently, has never been produced on a large scale. For this reason, there is little experience with it. It has been around for a long time, however, and it is known that it is entirely without any undesirable effects on the body. Being a normal, important body substance, this is not surprising; it can be taken up and used by the tissues in the various synthetic pathways into which in enters.

NAG is soluble and tasteless and is readily absorbed from the digestive tract. It circulates in the blood for about half a day until it is used up. It is not used for energy like other sugars such as glucose, and very little is excreted. Unlike vitamins, the deficiency of which would be felt in all tissues, a deficiency of NAG could be confined to one or a few tissues. People suffering from certain bowel diseases, however, are often more liable to have, for example, arthritis or psoriasis. The other tissues involved are those rich in components derived from NAG. So, although normally each tissue makes its own NAG, if the supply is short in any place, a dietary supplement can provide what is needed. At the beginning of this century, it must have been difficult for a pathologist to believe that the ravages of a disease like scurvy or pellagra could possibly be due in each case to the mere absence of a single simple substance to be found in food. So complex a condition with every tissue in the body in a state of disorder – anyhow, weren’t diseases caused by germs? How much more difficult must it have been for the physician attending the victims of these diseases to believe that a small amount of a single chemical substance, and only that substance (vitamin C in the case of scurvy and niacin in the case or pellagra) could possibly actually cure the disease.

NAG is not a drug or even something from the food chain, it is a normal body constituent, whose formation might sometimes be inadequate. NAG is now available as a nutritional supplement and is a natural way or promoting vital body processes essential to health.

Because it is relatively new, the full scope or its benefits is not known. Certainly, the digestive tract is of special importance and is especially vulnerable. Its function affects the entire body and that thin protective coat is all that stands between ourselves and a world of hostile things which cause allergies and of powerful digestive juices which can dissolve tissues which are not properly protected. Every tissue in the body needs NAG, and its possibilities have yet to be fully explored.

Permatrol is a Biocare product which now combines L-Glutamine, N-Acetyl Glucosamine with a probiotic in a handy capsule. Samples are available on request.